A Cork-based company is working with the pharmaceutical industry to make tablets tastier and easier to swallow.

SRL Pharma is collaborating with UCC’s School of Pharmacy and the Clinical Research Facility Cork (CRF-C) at Mercy University Hospital (MUH) to achieve the goals.

While sensory research has long been used in the food sector, to ensure a product’s acceptability to the consumer market, this type of sensory research is now being used more and more in the pharma sector.

“If patients don’t take their medications because it tastse bad, or they’re difficult to swallow, that can have detrimental effects on their health. We are working with pharma companies to develop medicines that patients will be able to take and thereby increase compliance,” SLR Pharma chief executive Margaret Shine said.

She said the new SRL Pharma Centre of Excellence, under the management of Dr Liz Sheehan, will meet the needs of the pharmachem industry to ensure drugs are palatable.

“Collaboration between Gateway UCC companies such as SRL Pharma and the UCC research community grows organically as is evidenced by this announcement, and this collaboration significantly adds to the growth of companies, like SRL, synergistically benefitting all partners including the company, the University and the wider economy in terms of job creation,” Gateway UCC manager, Myriam Cronin said.

When bringing a medicine to market, a process that costs several million euro, scientists face many challenges, not least the requirement to make products that can actually be consumed. Children and the elderly are often the most sensitive to the ‘bad taste’ of active medicinal ingredients.

As a result, these formulations are more likely to be in a liquid form, as tablet, or capsules can be difficult for these patients to swallow.

In addition there has been an increasing trend to formulate drugs in the form of orally disintegrating dosage forms, due to ease of ingestion and absorption. In these cases a ‘good taste’ is even more vital to ensure patient compliance.

Compliance rates in children are generally low due, in many cases, to bitter and unpalatable medicines.


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